All the top outdoor dog products, according to a dedicated camper who never leaves their dog behind.
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Part of the reason I adopted a dog was to have a buddy with me at all times on camping and hiking trips. For the past year, my border collie mix rescue pup, Miso, has been my constant companion — indoors and out.
As the dog of a shopping writer and avid camper, Miso has tried pretty much every piece of outdoor dog gear that exists, from Ruffwear’s classic life jacket(opens in a new tab) to numerous pairs of dog boots, harnesses, and leashes. While there are tons of fancy products out there for the dedicated outdoorsmen (and outdoorsdog), I’ve put together a list of all the basic products Miso and I have used on camping trips over the last year that have made our lives easier.
The gear on this list has been tested and approved by Miso.
Credit: Jae Thomas
Credit: Jae Thomas
I bought all the products on this list for my own personal use (with the exception of the dog first aid kit), and I think every piece is worth the cost. We only recommended products that haven’t had any quality or durability issues after using them for one year.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of every piece of dog camping gear that exists, but these are the products that kept us both happy and comfortable during a year packed with car camping, road trips, and hiking. If you’re ready to take your pup to the campground this season, scroll down for our gear recommendations, or read on for the answers to some commonly asked questions about taking your pooch camping.
How to take your dog camping
Before you shop around for dog gear, take these tips into account to make your camping trip with your canine companion a bit smoother:
Plan to spend some time getting your dog used to their camping gear before heading on a trip
Check the dog policy on any campground or hiking trail you’ll be on
Prepare to stay leashed up to keep your dog and other dogs safe
Pack plenty of food and water for your pup for the duration of your trip
Keep your vet’s and emergency vet’s phone number on hand in case of any accidents
Can I take my dog to a national park?
Nearly every national park in the United States allows dogs, but there are many parks with specific restrictions for where they can go within the park. With the exception of task-trained service animals, most parks only allow leashed dogs on paved roads, unpaved dirt roads, and at campgrounds, but a select few — like Acadia National Park — have miles of trails and carriage roads that dogs are allowed on.
Before you set out to take your dog camping at a national park, be sure to check the individual park’s rules on pets. If you’re planning on doing long hikes in your park of choice, ensure your dog can tag along with you, or else you may have to replan your entire trip.
Does my dog need boots to hike?
Your dog doesn’t need boots to hike, but they can help reduce the risk of paw injuries and assist with traction on slippery trails. For dog parents who are planning on spending time in the outdoors during the warmer months, note that if the weather is over 85 degrees Fahrenheit, pavement, asphalt, and even dirt may be too hot for your dog’s paws. This level of heat may cause blisters on dog’s paws if they’re exposed for too long. In these cases, a pair of dog boots can ensure your pup is safe while having fun during the summer.
Ruffwear’s Grip Trex boots keep my dog’s paws cool and safe from any sharp rocks, twigs, or debris.
Credit: Jae Thomas
Credit: Jae Thomas
Paw injuries are some of the most common injuries dogs face, and dog boots will drastically reduce the risk of your pup hurting a paw pad. Especially when in the outdoors, dogs may step on sharp sticks, rocks, glass, or break their nails while running or playing, so a good pair of boots keeps their feet secure while hiking, camping, and romping outside.
Not all dogs take to boots quickly, though. We’ve all seen videos of a pup forgetting how to walk normally when wearing boots, so be sure to allow time for your dog to get used to their new footwear. Positive association and slow desensitization are key for helping your dog learn to love wearing boots.
Our top pick
- Sizes: Medim (25.2 in x 33.5 in), large (28.3 in x 43.3 in)
- Weight: Medium (1.6 lbs), Large (2.2 pounds)
Snuggling with your pup while camping sounds nice in theory, but in reality, they will probably hog your sleeping bag and kick you in the ribs all night. The Ruffwear Highlands sleeping bag(opens in a new tab) was the first piece of dog camping gear I bought for my pup when I adopted her, and it’s still in perfect condition over a year later.
This dog sleeping bag is the perfect way to give your pup their own sleeping space while you’re camping. Its round shape is optimized for dogs’ sleeping positions, the synthetic insulation keeps them cozy, and the neck baffle helps keep cold air out. It’s also ultra packable and comes with its own compression sack. The water-resistant material is treated with DWR and the whole thing can be tossed in the washing machine, so you don’t have to worry about accidents or muddy paws.
An upgrade for the Highlands sleeping bag
- Size: Medium (23.6 in x 33.25 in), Large (26.8 in x 43.3 in)
- Weight: Medium (.75 pounds), large (1.05 pounds)
The Highlands dog pad adds some much-appreciated warmth and comfort to the matching Highlands sleeping bag, and it makes sleeping on the ground a little easier on my pup’s joints. The closed-cell foam insulation keeps my dog warm even when the ground is frozen, and the waterproof bottom ensures that her sleeping bag doesn’t get wet.
I’ve had the Highlands sleeping pad for over a year and there are still no signs of wear. This would also be a great mat to use for outdoor place training or for giving your pup a dedicated place to sit while you’re dining outdoors.
Best for inclement weather
- Sizes: Range from 7 inch back length to 29 inch back length
- Features: Back pocket, hood with visor, velcro closure
Going on walks in the rain was a nightmare before I bought this raincoat for my dog. Not only would she come inside totally soaked, but she’d have mud all over her belly from walking in the dirt. Keeping your dog dry is doubly important while camping — a wet, muddy dog means a wet, muddy tent.
This Canada Pooch raincoat has been a lifesaver for both camping and everyday life. It completely covers your dog’s belly area, keeping them clear of water and mud. The little hood with an attached visor also helps when it’s really coming down outside, keeping my dog’s head dry while still allowing her to see. The material is thick and incredibly high quality, and this raincoat has held up to countless storms.
Best for basecamp
- Sizes: Boomer 4 (32 ounces), Boomer 8 (64 ounces)
- Weight: 1.2 pounds (Boomer 4), 1.93 pounds (Boomer 8)
If you’re a fan of Yeti drinkware, the Yeti Boomer dog bowl is just as good. It comes in two different sizes (32 ounces and 64 ounces) and can handle just about anything. It’s puncture and rust resistant, and can handle being dropped, dinged, or thrown. If it gets grimy during the campout, just toss the whole thing in the dishwasher when you get home, and it’ll be ready for the week.
Best for keeping your pup cool
- Size (assembled): 41.25 in x 31.5 in x 30 in
If you don’t want to leave your dog zipped up in your tent while you’re hanging out at basecamp, this shade tent(opens in a new tab) is a great place for them to hang out. It keeps pups cool during the summer (especially if you’re camping near the beach or in a place without a lot of shade) and keeps them from rolling in the dirt too much.
For dogs that are crate trained, this tent will mimic the den-like environment of their crate and help them feel comfortable and confident in new outdoor locations. We introduced this tent to my dog indoors first, and she chooses to spend the majority of the day at camp lounging in it.
For roaming around base camp
Credit: Mashable Photo Composite / Petsafe
Most campgrounds require that dogs be leashed 100% of the time, so that means no off-leash roaming, even if your dog has good recall. To avoid confining them to their normal short leash, this 15 foot option can easily be tied to a tree or a picnic table to keep your dog secure while giving them room to walk around and explore. Sure, you could go out and buy a fancy dog hitch system made specifically for camping, but this longline leash is under $15 and does the job just as well.
I’ve put this leash in the washing machine multiple times after camping trips to clean off any residual dirt, and both the material and the hardware have held up nicely.
Best for paw protection
- Sizes: 1.5 inch paw width through 3.25 inch paw width
If you’re just going to be hanging around your campsite, you probably won’t need dog boots. If you’re planning on doing any serious hiking though, these Ruffwear Grip Trex boots are super durable and versatile. The Vibram outsole is as grippy as the soles of human hiking boots, so your pup will have maximum traction and stability on the trail. These boots are ideal for avoiding dirty paws, and protecting from sharp objects outdoors, too.
When I hike with my dog in the summer, I always put these boots on to protect her paws from any hot surfaces — and we’ve used them for over a year with little wear. They’re a little pricey, but worth the investment if you’re an avid hiker or backpacker and want your pup to tag along. Note that the Grip Trex boots come in sets of two, so you’ll be able to measure your dog’s front and back paws and get the correct size for each.
For keeping your best buddy safe
Credit: Adventure medical kits
- Contents: Waterproof pouch, splinter and tick remover, assorted bandages and antiseptics, a wound irrigation tool, allergy medication, and more
This is the only product on this list that I haven’t personally tried out, but it’s worth it to mention that folks should have first aid materials while camping, especially when camping with a dog. If you have a comprehensive first aid kit for yourself, you might not need a dog-specific one, since many of the products will be included in a normal first aid kit. If you want to go the extra mile for your pup though, this is a solid starter kit to buy.
The kit includes everything from a tick remover to a variety of bandages, with products geared towards common injuries a dog might receive while in the outdoors. The bag is also waterproof and packs down pretty small, so tossing it in a backpack is no problem.
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